Visualisation can offer a number of benefits over analysis of data using numbers only. These benefits are based on people’s ability to process images efficiently. We can scan, recognise, and recall images rapidly.
In addition, the human brain is an amazing pattern-recognition tool, and it can detect changes in size, colour, shape, movement, and texture very efficiently. The following highlights some of the main benefits of visualisation:
Answers a question
Visualisation can provide a quick, high level summary of the main information contained in the data.
Poses new questions
Quite often the initial data investigations can lead to more questions and further exploration.
Explore and discover
Sometimes the data shows some unexpected patterns and outliers – data points which are well outside the normal data range. Exploring these data points can lead to new discoveries.
Graphical representations of data are more effective as a means of communication than long textual files. A story can be told more efficiently, and the time to understand a picture is a fraction of the time that it takes to understand the textual data.
Visualisation can provide quick answers and can improve situational awareness. This in turn can lead to faster and timely decisions.
A well designed chart can save a lot of time otherwise needed to read pages of numbers and long textual reports. This time can be better spent on making sound business decisions.
Sometimes you may come across a visualisation that really appeals to you or presents the data in a different and more effective way and challenges your own practice. It can be useful to use this inspiration to enhance the way you present the data.
Using innovative data visualisations can make your audience more enthusiastic about what you are trying to communicate to them. This in turn can inspire your audience to take action based on your more persuasive visualisation.